Date: January 4, 2020
Location: Lloyd Noble Arena
The Sooners lead the all-time series with Kansas State, 108-101, and hold a 63-28 lead over the Wildcats in Norman. The Sooners have won four of their last six contests with K-State in Norman.
Leading The Way
The Sooners enter conference play with three of the top seven scorers in the Big 12. Kristian Doolittle (16.7 points per game) is fifth in the league, followed closely by Austin Reaves (16.3 points) in sixth. Not far behind the duo is forward Brady Manek, averaging 15.4 points, good for seventh in the league. Oklahoma and Miami are the only major-conference teams with three players averaging at least 15 points.
There’s Going To Be A Learning Curve
Oklahoma enters Saturday’s game with just three scholarship players who have seen action in a Big 12 game. Only Texas Tech has fewer players with Big 12 experience. The Sooners return Kristian Doolittle, Brady Manek and Jamal Bieniemy, who all started in a majority of OU’s conference games last season. Doolittle (13.9 points) and Manek (12.1 points) led OU’s scoring efforts in Big 12 play last season while Bieniemy dished out a team-high 3.6 assists.
A Family Affair
Junior forward Kur Kuath will be facing his cousin, K-State forward Makol Mawien. Both Kuath and Mawien were born to South Sudan families who fled their home country at a young age due to civil war. The families fled to Egypt, where Mawien was born, when Kuath was a toddler. They then moved to Utah at a young age as refugees.
OU has won five of its last six Big 12 home openers and the Sooners are 5-3 in Big 12 openers under Lon Kruger.
OU leads the Big 12 in free throw percentage, making 78.9% of its shots from the foul stripe. The Sooners, who shot free throws at a 69.7% rate in 2018-19, rank 10th in the country in 2019-20. Kentucky (79.0%) is the only major-conference team with a better free throw percentage.
Taking Care Of The Ball
The Sooners are turning the ball over just 10.6 times per game, which ranks sixth in the nation. Virginia Tech (9.5) and Notre Dame (9.6) are the only major-conference teams turning the ball over less.
Defense Leads The Way
In OU’s nine wins, opponents are shooting 38.2% from the field and 28.8% from 3-point range in the second half. In the final eight minutes of OU victories, opponents are 10-of50 (.200) from behind the arc.
The Wildcats are winning games this season by an average score of 67-60 this season. They are grabbing an average of 34.4 rebounds per game, which ranks them 299th nationally.
Forward Xavier Sneed leads the team in scoring at a pace of 14.4 points per game. Makol Mawien is pulling down a team high 5.3 rebounds per game and guard Cartier Diarra well is pacing the team with 5.8 assists per contest.
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